How Your Haircut Can Change Your Face Shape, From Top Stylists
Here's the thing: You should opt for whatever hairstyle makes you feel the most beautiful, regardless of the pendulum swing of beauty trends. However, some people do wonder whether certain cuts and colors suit their unique face shapes, undertones, and features—we're here to simply point those people in the right direction.
And when it comes to styles that slim and sculpt your bone structure, bangs quickly become a contested topic. You see, many people associate fringe with a youthful appearance since they effectively shorten the face. But do bangs make you look younger? The answer actually isn't so cut and dried. (After all, there are a number of bang styles to choose from.)
Below, hairstylists weigh in on how your mane can literally change the shape of your face.
Can a hairstyle make you look younger?
We know haircuts are not one-size-fits-all, but there are certain style traits that work better for certain head shapes than others. For example, those with rectangular or oblong faces might fare well with some feathery fringe to provide width, whereas round faces are beautifully offset by choppy, angular looks.
Just as how your bone structure can help you discover which hairstyle elements would suit you best, your 'do can accentuate or cloak certain facial features. Your strands do have the ability to flirt with light and shadow, similar to how you might play around with contour.
Take it from celebrity hairstylist Tom Smith: As he explains in a recent TikTok video, face-framing pieces that drop a tad too low can cast a shadow on your cheeks that actually accentuates sagging in that area. "The hair, here, is not helping to lift the face at all," he notes. A soft sweeping fringe, on the other hand, opens up the width of the face and keeps every region bright.
Of course, it all depends on your specific bone structure. Wispier bangs that fall just below the brows pull the attention toward the eyes, and some people may not wish to highlight the eye area. Additionally, "Sometimes a blunt bang puts a lot of focus on the mid-face," celebrity stylist Joseph Maine previously told mbg, so someone who doesn't want to draw attention to their nose may steer clear of bold bangs.
The bottom line? It's all about finding the right balance for your own facial features. Curtain bangs open up the face and enhance your cheekbones (just make sure they don't fall too low), wispy bangs bring attention to the eyes, side bangs give the illusion of lift and volume around the face, and so on.
The good news is that most hairstylists are well versed in bang geometry, so you won't have to do too much of the legwork. Think of this guide as more of a starting point to help inform your next haircut decision.
To dye or not to dye?
Color, too, can have the power to transform your look, so let's take a second to discuss highlights. Like cuts, there are no "rules" when it comes to hair dye, but if you're looking for your most natural hue, it's crucial to match your undertones.
"You always want to choose a shade that enhances your skin tone and works with your natural hair color," iconic hairstylist and founder and CEO of FEKKAI Brands Frédéric Fekkai previously told mbg. For example, if you have an olive or warm undertone and decide to dye it a light, ashy shade of blond, "it can age your look and appear unnatural," he adds.
So, say, if you're hoping to blend in gray hairs by adding dimension, make sure to consider your undertones before dabbling in highlights. Again, most hairstylists are already armed with this knowledge and likely won't botch the dye job, but it's still important to note—especially if you're dipping your toes into at-home color.
I hesitate to say whether any haircut makes you appear more or less youthful since everyone's facial features are ultimately different. But certain styles do have the power to cast shadows on specific angles of the face, which can help accentuate or conceal those facial features. It's ultimately up to you (and your hairstylist) to decide which 'do suits yours best, but you can feel free to take the above as light suggestions. And if you do opt for bangs, you'll definitely want to check out our guide on how to style them.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.